When you actually look at it, it is quite amazing how quickly this problem has developed over the last 50 to 70 years or so. Our history books rarely talk about it, except perhaps a mention of a rich King's gout or a rich merchants large girth.
Now, an estimated 150 million adults or more in the United States, (65% of the adult population), are overweight or obese! Only slightly less percentages exist for the United Kingdom. In fact the UK has the largest level of obesity in Europe!
This has steadily been increasing to these levels and has even speeded up over the last 20 or 30 years. These worrying trends are not good for individuals, nor society. Apart from the health issues and their rising costs, a nation's productivity is related to the health of its citizens.
There is much debate on what comes first. A reduction in manual labour type jobs/manufacturing jobs and an increase in obesity levels, or rising weight gains, lead to less productive workers which forces more labour intensive jobs to move overseas. Perhaps they are both intricately linked either way.
Obesity is still increasing!
Large increases have occured in the last 10 to 15 years. Increases were seen in both sexes and all socioeconomic classes, with the greatest increase seen in 18 to 29 year olds and even in those who have achieved higher education.
Most weight gains in population segments used to be mainly seen in groups of people with lower incomes and lower formal education qualifications. Now the gains are pretty much across the board. It seems most sectors of society are falling into the traps set by junk food, reduced exercise/physical activity and higher environmental dangers.
Even with these high increases now being seen, obesity rates are often underestimated!! This is because many overweight people who don't actually get weighed, sometimes to underestimate their weight and overestimate their height and so the problem can be disguised or not confronted.
It is clear that our modern lifestyles and the excesssive calorie-rich foods we eat combine to steadily create this problem for individuals and ultimately for society.
Despite all the fad diets saying things to the contrary, there is a fundamental truth regarding weight and getting fat. This equation says that if you eat more than your body needs then some of this excess food is converted to fat and stored in the body. So weight gain is dependent on a person's food intake being greater than the energy used up.
What successful diets CAN do is to make things easier and help you achieve your weight goals when you take the right steps. But don't believe the hype. There are no quick fixes. Only a common sense approach can work in the long term. However, this can also be fun, easier to follow and is definitely the most healthy way to do it, as well as the most successful.
One pound (0.45 kg) is equal to 3,500 calories. Therefore, a person consuming 500 calories a day more than he or she uses will gain approximately one pound a week.
Why is it easy get fat?
Let's say that on average you consume a few hundred calories a day more than your body needs to meet its daily energy requirements. This could be a slice of cake, or a packet of crisps, or even a larger than needed portion of dinner. Even if only 100 calories of this extra amount is stored as fat, it adds up to 365 x 100 = 36,500 extra calories. This all adds up to ten pounds of fat in a year. Over five years this small amount of extra food adds up to 50 pounds of fat or 22 kgs. So over time, weight gain can slowly but surely creep up on you and before you know it you look fat in the mirror.
A person's body weight tends to range within 10% of a set value. Weight alterations in either direction cause changes in energy expenditure that favor a return to the set-point. This mechanism helps explain the terrible problem of weight gain following attempted weight loss.
Only by reaching a lower weight for a period of time can the person get used to feeling lighter and for the body cell's "memory" to not need so much food.
One of the difficult things with junk food, apart from their low nutritional values, is that the food industry spend millions on chemical additives. They research ways of using chemicals to increase your hunger and stimulate taste buds to want to eat more and more. By eating more natural foods there is immediately less chance of this artificial stimulus provoking excessive eating.
There are many possible complications: Obesity can lead to:
Type 2 diabetes
coronary artery disease
low back pain
lack of confidence
A sensible diet and some exercise has been shown to be the most effective thing to do.
A key, key point is not to eat too much junk food and to ensure you get the basic nutrition your body needs. You should eat at least two portions of fruit and vegetables each day. We would highly recommend supplementing your diet with superfood.
Physical activity is a necessary component of every weight loss plan.
Eat three meals a day at about the same time each day sitting at a table.
Avoid distractions such as television or magazines.
Cook smaller amounts; use smaller plates.
Avoid second helpings.
Clean plates directly into the garbage.
This is just a short introduction to the topic of weight-loss, obesity and diet. Further news and tips will be published via our newsletter as well as on this site.